At this time of year, many of us are on the hunt for a winter sunshine getaway to escape from the colder weather and get some much-needed R&R. But if you’re a fan of the cooler temperatures and potential snowfall, then a sunny escape might not quite be for you – so how about a luxury winter holiday that makes the most of the seasonal weather?
Encompassing mountains, glaciers and deep coastal fjords, Norway offers some of the most impressive natural beauty in the world, and is a dream destination for those who like to get out and about and immerse themselves in it. From fishing and hiking to skiing, it’s the perfect place to get a slice of the action whilst also enjoying some peace and quiet away from the stresses and strains of city life. Make no mistake though; the capital of Oslo is well worth a visit, too, and has a great food and drink scene you won’t want to miss.
If you’ve only got a long weekend to spare but want to pack in some of the best sights and sounds of Norway whilst enjoying all the lavish touches you love, then look no further – because we’ve pulled together the ultimate luxury guide to 72 hours in Norway.
Day 1: Oslo
Despite being Norway’s capital city, Oslo is awash with beautiful green spaces – yet it of course has a good dose of culture, a vibrant night-life scene and high-end dining to offer, too, making it the perfect introduction to this beautiful country and a great way to ease yourself in.
On the first day of your luxury trip to Oslo, fly into Gardermoen Airport. If you’re going to be arriving late, then we recommend getting in the evening beforehand to ensure maximum exploration time. For ease and convenience, arrange a private transfer to take you directly to your hotel, where you can relax, unwind and prepare for the action ahead.
With only 72 hours to spend in Norway, there’s no time to waste – so check straight into your luxury accommodation – we like The First Hotel Grims Grenka, located in the Kvadraturen area of the city – and head straight off to take in some sights.
Preserved 9th-century Viking ships can be seen on display at the Viking Ship Museum, while the Royal Palace, in all its splendour, is certainly worth a visit. The Arkershus Fortress, meanwhile, was built in 1299 under King Hakon V, and this medieval castle is a must-see. Completed in the 1300s, it is strategically located at the end of the headland, and has withstood a number of sieges throughout the ages.
By night, Oslo comes alive, with a rich dancing and nightlife scene that you can’t leave without experiencing for yourself. With a huge range of bars and clubs, including plenty for those with more refined tastes, head to Thorvald Meyers gate and the surrounding streets for the best selection. Sadly for casino fans, Norway has no land-based casinos, but fans with a little downtime to kill can still play online – you can find a very good list of best Norwegian online casinos at Norske Casino.
Home to not one, but three Michelin Stars, Maaemo is a foodie’s dream. This fine dining eatery is based on the concept of connecting with nature, and intricate cooking and sublime flavour combinations fuse with impeccably choreographed service to make for a thoroughly memorable evening.
The First Hotel Grims Grenka, located in the Kvadraturen area of Oslo, is just 900 yards from Oslo Central Station and 15 minutes’ walk from the Aker Brygge district, making it the perfect base before a day of travelling ahead tomorrow. Boasting an opulent rooftop bar and terrace and lavish rooms, it’s our top luxury pick.
Day 2: Flåm
Public transport might not be the most luxurious way to travel, but in Norway, it’s a must. Why? Because of the amazing scenery and incredible vistas you’ll get to take in as you head into the Nordic countryside.
Leaving from Oslo Central Station, the train to Bergen takes you on a scenic journey that has been voted one of the 20 best in the world, taking you over Norway’s ‘mountainous rooftop’ and through the quaint villages of Geilo and Gol.
As we’re not heading straight to Bergen, you’ll want to change trains in Myrdal to the Flåm Railway, where you’ll be treated to a breath-taking 20 km ride with a 900-metre descent to your destination of choice.
On arrival into the village of Flåm, be sure to pop into the Flåm Railway Documentation Centre for an educational experience – before heading to your accommodation to drop your luggage and then relaxing and enjoy the evening in this idyllic little village.
Bakkastova may be just a café, but it has won itself a loyal following. Creating simple yet delicious food that will enrich your stay in Flam, immerse yourself in all-things Norweigan and dine as the locals do.
Fretheim Hotel is a refurbished 1800s manor house just 200 yards from Aurlandsfjord boasts sweeping views of the surrounding mountains. Its restaurant serves up tasty Norweigan cuisine based on organic, locally sourced ingredients, and in summer, guests can enjoy a relaxed drink or bite to eat on the terrace.
Day 3: The Fjords and Bergen
On your final day in Norway, it’s time to head even further into the remote countryside to a place where you can really get away from it all and breathe in some real fresh air.
Take a boat to Aurlandsfjord and into the World Heritage-listed Nærøyfjord – the narrowest fjord in Europe. Edged by tall mountains and towering waterfalls, the incredible scenery you’ll see along the way is set to leave you speechless – so be sure to have your camera at the ready.
Continue onto Gudvangen, then take a car up Stalheimskleiva, enjoying awe-inspiring views at every turn. Next, it’s onto the charming city of Begen – the second largest in Norway, and home to UNESCO World Heritage site, Bryggen. One of the most enjoyable things to do in Bergen is to simply wander the streets and soak up the welcoming atmosphere – taking in the pretty houses and the bustling fish and flower market. With lots of museums to choose from, there’s no shortage of things to do here – and a ride on the cable cars is a must.
After taking in the Maria Church, King Håkon’s Hall and the Rosenkrantz Tower, it’s time to head off for a relaxing evening over dinner. After a long day of travel, you deserve it – and the good news is, fine dining is on the menu.
Colonialen is a fine-dining eatery serving a seasonal four-course menu featuring dishes determined by the freshest local meat, fish and produce. It’s all about elegant eating in a relaxed atmosphere – the perfect combination after a tiring few days exploring the highlights of Norway.
For full on luxury, head to Opus XVI, housed in a historic building dating all the way back to 1876. Its individually designed rooms and suites and Norweigaan-style breakfast buffer are to-die-for – and don’t forget to pause to admire the in-house exhibition while you’re there.
As your 72 hours in Norway come to an end, it’s time to get a good night’s sleep before heading back to Oslo for your flight home in the morning. In just three short days, you’ll have seen some of the very best this beautiful country has to offer, enjoyed a good dose of luxury and eaten your body-weight in high-end Norwegian cuisine – a satisfying experience, yet one that is still bound to leave you wanting to come back for more.